Thanks to Linda for inviting PTF to speak at the Pasadena Smith & Hawken store. We appreciate her enthusiasm and encouraging support. Also thank you to all the S&H staff there for a warm welcome.

Power Point Highlights

The presentation lasted over an hour. Here’s an overview of what Farmer D had to share about some of his growing tips and techniques.

RESULTS & YIELDS of 1/0 acre Garden

  • ~ 6,000 lbs (3 tons) annually of vegetables, fruits and herbs
  • Supplying 99% of our produce needs
  • ~400 different flora varieties over a year
  • Over $20,000 in gross sales annually


  • Organic
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Square-inch Gardening
  • Polyculture
  • Bio-intensive / Beds
  • No-till / Mulch
  • Ancient Practices
  • Stewardship
  • Edible Landscaping
  • Vertical Gardening
  • Container Gardening
  • Multi-story Mode
  • Dervaes Sr.’s Jungle Style
  • Dervaes Jr.’s Max Out Method



Increases yields
Healthier plants
Water savers

80% more efficient than drip irrigation

The water slowly seeps through the unglazed porous clay, directly irrigating roots.

Ollas virtually eliminate the runoff and evaporation common in modern irrigation systems, allowing the plant to absorb nearly 100 percent of water.

Ollas can help maintain a steady flow of water to plants because they dramatically reduce the need to water.


Seedlings grown in soil blocks form stronger root systems than those grown in containers due to increased oxygen to the roots and the soil blocks natural tendency to “prune” roots.

This creates a substantial advantage when seedlings are transplanted into the field, because plants establish themselves more quickly and, because of lessened root disruption, they are less prone to transplant shock.


  • Prevents weeds
  • Moderates soil temperature
  • Adds extra nutrients to the soil
  • Retains moisture
  • Reduces watering
  • Helps against soil compaction

Useful mulching materials: oak leaves, pine needles, straw and green “cover crops.”


Uses and benefits of Effective Micro-organisms around the urban farm

In the Garden

  • Promotes soil aggregate formation and soil compaction resistance.
  • Improves seed germination and root development.
  • Increases nutrient availability
  • Improves crop quality: size, color, and shelf life
  • Helps improve soil structure and porosity.
  • Maximizes conversion of organic matter into soil humus.
  • Increases beneficial native microbial populations.

Poultry & Livestock

  • Deters flies.
  • Controls odors.


85% mineral depletion from soil during the past 100 years.

Level of minerals in fresh fruit and vegetables has decreased by 70%
over the last 50 years.

  • Provides slow, natural release of elements and trace minerals.
  • Increases the nutrient intake of plants.
  • Boosts and regenerates soil.
  • Increases mineral rich organic crop yields.
  • Increases the growth of micro organisms and earthworm activity.
  • Increases the storage capacity of the soil.
  • Enhances flavor in crops.
  • Decreases dependence on fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

GROWING NATURALLY – Under, over, around & in-between

“Square inch gardening” is a phrase used to describe our unique method of growing many plants packed closely together, emulating how plants grow in nature.

  • Reduces weeding
  • Saves water
  • Acts as a “living” mulch


Ideal for urban gardeners with limited space or urbanite like decks, patios and balconies. Save watering, weeding, and tending each plant.


FACT: According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 75 per cent of the world’s agricultural diversity has been lost in the last century.

Open-pollinated varieties are the traditional varieties which have been grown and selected for their desirable traits for millennia. They grow well without high inputs because they have been selected under organic conditions.


Attracting and maintaining a population of beneficial insects are important to managing insect pests in your garden with a minimum of pesticide sprays.

Let nature do her work. Work slowly to restore a balance.

With this tips and more Farmer D encouraged all those present to LET’S GET GROWING!

Garden Supplies

You’ve asked for it and we are finally stocking the wagon with new garden tools & supplies

New this week: rock dust, natural soil boosters, sprays and more!

No Comments

  1. Kory says:

    thanks for the overview, you should make a narrated powerpoint available for download. Less carbon to ship a few megs of data to us, than a few hundred pounds of audience to you 😉

  2. rhonda jean says:

    What a great presentation to show the potential of one suburban home. It’s wonderful work you’re all doing there, Anais.

  3. Susy says:

    I love seeing photos of your gardens! I’d love to see like a garden tour with photos (I’m new so maybe there is one on your site and I just haven’t found it yet).

    I love the ollas! I’ll have to see if I can get some of those, don’t think they’re too prevalent in Ohio!

  4. Susy says:

    I love the photos of the gardens! I’d love to see a photo tour of your entire garden (maybe there is one, I’m new and haven’t found it yet if there is).

    I think the ollas are great. I’ll have to see if I can find some, they’re not too prevalent in Ohio.

  5. Robbyn says:

    Hi Dervaeses 🙂

    I keep sending folks here…your family is my ideal of “green” and “sustainable.” I just wanted to mention that I can never get enough of the How To and the big picture, though I come to your site all the time. I love this blog post because it’s a great overview of so many important parts of the process at your homestead. Have you ever thought of making a DVD set where each step is filmed showing the hands-on How To as you guys do each of these things? There are so many important elements, and most of us coming to this for the first time have a pretty steep learning curve. I know each person’s situation will be tailored to their own personal set of tastes and circumstances, but I really feel that since you’ve been living this lifestyle now for so long, you are excellent mentors! For those of us too far away to come to the lectures, we’re hungry for more of the sort of information we’d get by following you around for a day…regularly…as you do what you’ve found works best. A DVD set would be something we’d FIND the money to purchase, if it were footage of hands-on how-tos mentioned, such as the things in this post you just posted. I’m already convinced that we can grow things up, down, and sideways, but I’m SO wanting to see more of how to accomplish it. I need to see how it all works together. An instructional set would be another huge step forward for folks like me in the revolution that now is becoming less and less optional, and more and more of a necessity.

    Just wondering if you’ve given that any thought! If so, I’ll be your first customer 🙂

    LOVE you guys. Thank you for sharing so much of your daily lives in print and in photos for those of us who find it an incredible catalyst!

  6. Christine says:

    I think Robbyn has some good advise! Do it in phases, like what you feed the goats, how you milk, watering, exact grains you feed., hoof trimming, even their excercise and play. All of it. Then go on to something else. This could be a real money maker, and that farm might not be too far off for the Kids! Well so much for my advice. Maybe you could even download it for a fee on internet. That would be so cool. … I’ve been living this for many years, but I still love reading your info. One can never stop learning! Thankyou so much! In Christ, C

  7. Nee says:

    I don’t know if you would have time to do it, but if you were able to document the transition from lawn to productive garden, actually carrying it out on a friend’s property, we could see it take place. Your place is already mature and abundant; it would be helpful to follow the transformation of a “new” piece of real estate as it becomes useful and the soil richer. Many of us are just getting started and it would be great to see the step-by-step development. Your photos are so encouraging. Thanks for taking the time to tell how you do things (and thanks for the menu lineup…gives us vegetarians some creative input).

  8. Nuno says:

    Wow, never heard of half the stuff you mentioned.
    Kory’s right, if you have the time you should post small tutorial videos\tours on youtube.

  9. Janice K says:

    what a GREAT presentation that was! Thank you so much for all of your hard work. My husband is more understanding now because of it. Anais, thanks for taking time to talk to me and share loads of information with. Could you please let me know what I need to do about the Coop? Thank you very much. This is off the subject but I just saw something on YouTube that was neat, it was a Compost shower. They coiled a hose inside a very large compost heap and let the cooking compost heat the water. Warm showers even in the night/winter!

  10. Anais says:


    Great to see seasoned and newbie commentors. Glad you enjoyed the post. I had a fun time putting together the power point for Farmer D.

    Like one of the commentors (Robbyn) mentioned we are going to have to get around to doing some short how to videos or booklets. It’s been on our to do list for quite awhile now. One step at a time!


    Thanks, I’ll pass on your compliments to Farmer D (he was battling an ear infection at the time so he’ll be glad to hear you enjoyed the presentation)

    Send me an email and I will pass along the co op information.

    Thanks for sharing the shower link – pretty cool!

  11. Sinfonian says:

    Love the post! I’m doing Square Foot Gardening this year and have commented that you were even closer. I love the Square Inch Gardening term. I bet that took a bunch of trial and error to break from the published spacings.

    I will look into the rock dust. I never would have thought of that.


  12. COMPOST HAPPENS | Little Homestead in the City says:

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